Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Clayton Lake Trumpeter Swans

Nature Notebook Sighting

The following sighting was received October 31, 2018. Sent in by Howard Robinson:

“This afternoon we heard the familiar old car horn calls from Clayton Lake . . .  we had a good sighting of a Trumpeter Swan family with three cygnets.  Looking further along the far shore we saw several groupings of Trumpeter Swans for a total of seventeen.  Maybe they will stick around for a few days.”

Howard was able to snap these “long distance” photos of the swans.

NOTE: Photos of local natural history interest may be sent to or sent to MVFN’s Facebook page.

Trumpeter Swans, Clayton Lake Oct 2018 photo H. Robinson

Trumpeter Family. Clayton Lake. photo H. Robinson

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Small flock of Evening Grosbeaks a rare treat

MVFN Nature Notebook Sighting

Click here for information about MVFN Nature Notebook and sending in recent local sightings

“We’ve been very fortunate in the last couple of days to have a small flock of Evening Grosbeaks at our feeders. It is such a wonderful treat to see these magnificent birds and hear their soft calls!! I can only hope they stay for a while. The last time we saw them on our property was in June 2017. When I lived in Quebec, in the 80’s, I used to get about 100 of these beautiful birds in my backyard. Their noise would wake me up in the morning. Unfortunately, now, when we see a few of them, it’s a rare event.”

Lise Balthazar, Sheridan Rapids, October 23, 2018

The following photos of female and male Evening Grosbeaks are by Lise Balthazar and Nat Capitanio

Male Evening Grosbeak photo Nat Capitanio

Female Evening Grosbeak photo Nat Capitanio


Female Evening Grosbeak photo Nat Capitanio


Female Evening Grosbeak photo Lise Balthazar


Female Evening Grosbeak photo Nat Capitanio


Male Evening Grosbeak photo Nat Capitanio


Male Evening Grosbeak photo Lise Balthazar


Male Evening Grosbeak photo Nat Capitanio

Male Evening Grosbeak photo Nat Capitanio


A species of special concern in Ontario

NOTE: Evening Grosbeaks (Coccothraustes vespertinus) were added to the Species at Risk in Ontario list in August 2018. Status: Special Concern. “Special Concern” means the species lives in the wild in Ontario, is not endangered or threatened, but may become threatened or endangered due to a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats.

Information from Ontario Species at Risk in Ontario (

What you can do:

Report a sighting of an endangered animal or plant to the Natural Heritage Information Centre. Photographs with specific locations or mapping coordinates are always helpful.

Bird Studies Canada is working to advance the understanding, appreciation and conservation of wild birds and their habitat in Ontario and elsewhere; for more information on how you can help, visit:

As with all wildlife, don’t disturb or harass the birds or nesting sites. Be respectful and observe from a distance.

Identified Threats:

Potential threats to the Evening Grosbeak include habitat loss and degradation from forestry practices, chemical measures to control Spruce Budworm populations and climate change impacts. Collisions with vehicles while flying over roads or ingesting salt along roadsides and hitting windows near bird feeders have also been identified as threats.

It is thought that the decline in populations since the 1970s is correlated with the 25-40 year natural cycle of the Spruce Budworm.


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A multitude of juvenile birds plus a Bobolink in my backyard

MVFN Nature Notebook sightings received July 11-13, 2018

Lise Balthazar (Sheridan Rapids) reports “I have a multitude of juveniles in my backyard: Grackles, Sapsuckers, Rose Breasted Grosbeaks, and a family of Crows which has been very entertaining to watch, even though they wake me up every morning at 5 a.m. “

Here are some of the photos sent by Lise.

Also, a Bobolink. Lise writes “I know that the Bobolink population is declining and it’s always a treat when we can spot one”.

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. photo Nat Capitanio

Juvenile crows at bird bath. photo Nat Capitanio

Juvenile Crow. photo N. Capitanio

Bobolink. July 2018. photo Nat Capitanio




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Green Heron family flight lessons on Clayton Lake

MVFN NatureNotebook sighting received July 19, 2018:

While out on a loon watch, Howard and Mary Robinson observed two separate Green Heron families doing “flight and tree climbing schools” with their young ones on an island in Clayton Lake.

Green Heron. photo Howard Robinson

Green Heron family. photo Howard Robinson


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Swans on Watsons Corners’ pond

MVFN Nature Notebook Sighting received May 8, 2018

Lise Balthazar is seeing many spring birds near her home in Sheridan Rapids and in the area, including these swans. She sent in these beautiful pictures of the swans on a pond near Watsons Corners.

All photos by Nat Capitanio

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